Type: Public event
Host: Ford School

Ethnic Filters: The Political Significance of Priming Latino Identity

Date & time

Nov 18, 2015, 4:00-5:30 pm EST


Free and open to the public.

Quality research on population subgroups, including racial and ethnic minorities, is impeded by the cost of recruiting and retaining representative samples. To minimize costs, many surveys eschew the practice of ending the survey with demographic questions, and instead begin by asking participants their race and/or ethnicity. These “ethnic filters,” as we refer to them, direct limited resources to reaching and gathering data on the targeted population. However, these questions also cue an identity laden with social, economic and political associations. We develop and test a theory about how identity cues at the beginning of surveys of Latino public opinion affect the political preferences that are reported. Using a population-based survey experiment, we demonstrate that ethnic filter questions affect Latino attitudes across a range of political issues, and suggest new interpretations of Latino public opinion. Our findings offer insights into the effect of explicit identity cues on Latino public opinion, as well as the production and analysis of data on racial, ethnic and other population sub-groups.

From the speaker's bio:

Mara Cecilia Ostfeld is a postdoctoral fellow at the Ford School of Public Policy and will be an assistant professor of Political Science in the College of LSA starting in the Fall 2016. Mara's current research focuses on the effects of exposure to Spanish-language media on both actual patterns of Latino political identification, as well as how Latinos are perceived politically. Beyond this research, her work has explored questions relating to immigration attitudes, news frames, and survey techniques. She is the co-author of a forthcoming piece in Political Communication, "Revisiting the effects of case studies in the news," with Diana C. Mutz. Mara received her PhD in political science from the University of Pennsylvania and her MPP from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

This event is co-sponsored by the Political Science Department and the Latina/o Studies Program.